Blue Books
Brantlinger, Patrick, “Bluebooks, the Social Organism, and the Victorian Novel,” Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts Vol. XIV, No. 4 (Fall 1972): 328-344.
Brantlinger discusses how several early Victorian writers were influenced by parliamentary bluebooks and other official and social investigations.  He briefly refers to the example of Lancelot, hero of Kingsley’s Yeast who immersed himself in a plethora of bluebooks and other reports in his examination of the ‘Condition-of-the-Poor question'.  It was partly though the study of such reports that Lancelot's social conscience was stirred.

Bluebooks; Yeast; Social and Political Novel.
 

Smith, Sheila M.  “Blue Books and Victorian Novelists,” The Review of English Studies, New Ser. Vol. XXI (1970): 23-40.
Smith considers the use by Kingsley and Disraeli in Yeast and Sybil respectively of the 1843 Blue book, Report on the Employment of Women and Children in Agriculture.  Echoing his brother-in-law Sir Sidney Godolphin Osborne who had supplied evidence for the Report, Kingsley in Yeast rejects the common romantic depiction of the countryside as beautiful and idyllic especially when contrasted with the ugliness and squalor of industrial cities.  Smith also declares that Kingsley in common with other Victorian novelists used the content of Blue books to express ideals and spiritual truths.  In writing of the misery and dreadfulness of rural areas, Kingsley "expressed his belief in man's responsibility for his brother, gave the lie to romantic, idealized descriptions of the countryside, and suggested the way in which the Christian Church can help redeem society" (39).

Yeast; Blue Books; Rural Life; Disraeli.
 
 

Return to Top